By Anibal Casco
Upon arriving at the small town of Labina, I noticed the many odd qualities of this quaint town. There were only three roads leading out of the city, all the others circled around and ended up back on one of the main streets or dead ends. The surrounding areas were all woods. It was a deep forest of many old, gnarled trees, which appear to be dead long ago; but somehow still had leaves on them. These, too, were blackish in color for the trees themselves were a dark gray color.
"What a dreary place," I said to myself as I looked around.
I began to inspect and scrutinize the cityscape in more detail; there was a square with an odd looking gazebo and an altar looking thing, a church of a very odd architecture, unlike any I had seen before, and a few stores surrounding the these. I also caught sight of what appeared to be a high school in a derelict state and two smaller schools.
The air had a strange scent to it, as of that smelled in a place where there would be a great many decomposing corpses.
Strange shadows appeared in the already dark atmosphere.
"Strange," I heard myself whispering, "it appears as though the sun does not shine."
Another odd thing is that there were no people around anywhere in sight. There was not a sound to be heard anywhere, either.
I began to walk towards a large Victorian house with a sign saying "Inn" on its heavy black wrought iron gate that surrounded the entire house. I tried to open it but before my hands were on the latch the gates swung open, nearly banging me on the head.
Just then I heard a small rustle in the leaves and a sound like a metal door shutting.
"Hello, is anyone there?" I called out. To my surprise two young women came out, one a shorter blonde with beautiful blue eyes and the other a taller black haired brunette with enchanting green eyes. They were both wearing odd clothing. My only words to describe them would be a mix between Victorian era clothing and the outfits worn by women practicing B. D. S. M. (Bondage Domination Sadomasochism).
The blonde girl answered "Greetings there stranger, come, follow us if you are looking for a place for rest."
I followed them into the large Victorian house through two large Oak doors. The inside of the house was beautiful and strange. There were large candelabras with deep red candles that emitted a dark light. The walls were draped in ancient canvasses of paintings in a style so grotesque it could hardly be perceived as art at all. All the furniture was black in color and had strange markings on them. There was also a large amount of swords, daggers, and other such things on the walls hanging next to a large painting of a man. The room had an awful smell as of that of rotten eggs or brimstone.
I followed the girls into what seemed to be an office. There was a large clerk desk and behind it were many compartments with keys inside. All were full. That must mean that there was vacancy and no one else was here.
The shorter blonde was acting very excited for some reason since my arrival. She had a look of mischief and innocence. The other girl was directly her opposite; she was tall though not taller than me, and had jet black hair, her eyes were a beautiful green, deep and very sullen, though instead of being filled with mischief and innocence hers contained maturity and obeisance.
"How long will you be staying?" said the shorter blonde one, interrupting my concentration on the two girls, which I should call ladies since they appeared to be around 18 or 19.
"About a day and a half," I responded.
"Fine, now, all you have to do is sign here mister...?" she said handing me a large leather bound book.
"Mister Roderick Chamber," replied as she gazed intently into my eyes.
"Ms. Mina Obscura," she mentioned as she put her hand out for me to kiss, "this is my sister, Lenore."
I took both their hands and kissed them. Their hands felt strange, at least their skin anyway. Mina’s skin was very warm and moist. On the other hand, Lenore’s was cold and dry. Both of them smelled ever so wonderfully, as of a strong scent of dry roses and incense masking the scent of the inside of the house momentarily.
"Now, your room is on the fifth floor. It has a bed, a bathroom, and a closet. It also has a dresser and a nightstand. Not much but enough for you to survive. We serve breakfast at 9 promptly every morning, lunch at 1 and supper at 9."
"O.k.," I said as I took the key, "may I ask you a question?"
"Yes, anything," replied quickly Mina.
"Why haven’t I seen anyone else here in this town?"
Just then I made a startling discovery that distracted me from hearing the answer to my question; the walls had shelves upon which rested countless numbers of dolls. There were not the usual kind found in a toy store, these were horrific dolls; their porcelain faces and arms white as snow, their eyes in a sinister grimace, tinged with red outlined in black, their mouths were snarling masses of blood red lips and long fangs.
I must have drifted off for the answer to my question I was not able to hear. I could not help but stare in horrific amazement at the number of dolls on the walls. There appeared to be thousands.
Then Mina said "So I see you have met our friends," disturbing my mind in its state of frenzied obsession.
"Yes, I see I have met your friends." I replied to her. She looked at me smiling with her perfect white teeth.
"Is something wrong?" she asked me.
"No, I just never saw dolls such as those. They are indeed odd." I responded.
"It is because they are old. They are from one of our distant ancestors." she informed me.
"Very interesting." I replied.
"Where does your family come from?" I asked the charming energetic Mina.
"We come from a very small country in Europe," she answered, looking around nervously an if there was a hidden something which she did not want me to know.
"Very interesting." I said, "and you say these dolls came from your ancestors?"
"Yes, something like heirlooms," she replied.
" Indeed. Thank you. I must get going to me room for I have to rest and I have a great journey ahead," I said as I picked up my key and luggage.
I walked up a large flight of stairs, I would think it went up a thousand floors which would be possible seeing as how the house appeared to me to be immense.
While I climbed the stairs, I kept hearing small footsteps as of feet of wood following me. Every time I would look down at the already ascended stairs I would see nothing. Upon reaching the last of the flight of stairs I walked down a long corridor past what seemed endless room’s doors. It must have gone on for what seemed miles. I looked ahead and there seemed to be no end. The doors were black and the walls were red. In my mind they created what appeared to be a checker board effect. It was indeed odd to walk through these. Then, I found mine.
Once there I began to think about all the events already occurred; my arrival into this small desolate town, the odd looking forest, the eerie silence and shadows over everything, the girl’s decorum and vestiment, the small sounds that recurred often, all so very odd.
Another odd thing was the house. True, it did look to be very large but upon entering it I found my previous calculations of it to be astray. It appeared to be about 5 stories high and somewhat large, but not to what it was upon entering it. It had a living groom the size of a normal house’s entire backyard, the ceiling looking to be about 20 feet high. The stairs seemed to be infinite in their spiral ascent into the highest reaches of the mansion. There were infinite rooms in corridors that appeared to be miles long. I asked myself how all this space could be in the house.
The next morning I woke and went to breakfast. Lenore was already at the table sitting and eating her food quietly and looked up without saying a word.
"Good morning," I said to her. She simply nodded her head, her long black hair moving as if it were a great mass of black ocean swell upon the shore.
"I see you have woken up. Did you sleep well?" Mina asked while carrying in a pan containing what appeared to be eggs of some kind.
"Very well indeed, though there were some odd sounds coming from my closet during the night. They probably were nothing more than a poor field mouse who managed to get in to escape this October chill."
"Yes, most probably," she spoke as she served my food on a what appeared to be odd black porcelain plate.
"Thank you." I said as I began to eat my food. The eggs were strange in texture and flavor but delicious none the less.
After having our breakfast Mina, Lenore, and I went out into the garden and sat discussing our plans and business.
The garden also had an odd appearance. The trees in which the garden setting was in were ones with black bark such as the ones outside the town. The only difference with these was that these ones had leaves. The leaves themselves were of an odd appearance, too. The were in the shape of a Death’s head and the vein pattern on them also suggested the afore mentioned. The grass of which it was covered in was of a peculiar type; darker than the usual kind of grass I can remember, thick blades that looked as though a run through it would cause serious injury the bottom of the foot, and odd reddish stains on the blades.
As I studied at the house from the outside in the day (which still remained dark as dusk even though it was noon) I noticed the home also had a hedge maze in the back yard. It was a extremely large one for I looked out as far as I could see and I could not see the end of it.
"Want to go and play in our maze?" Mina said abruptly, startling me.
"Quite. Let us go!" I said in an over zealous tone, amazing myself for I had not spoken in such a tone since I was a child. I took off my coat jacket and my top hat and put it on my arm while I began to undo the top button of my shirt when Mina took my hand and pulled me toward the maze.
The maze was as strange as anything else in this town. It had extremely tall hedges that ended in rows of dark red roses, nearly black, covered in sharp thorns. The plants of which the hedges were made out of were dark green plants that had leaves in the shape of caskets shaped with 6 sides. At the top of the hedges odd cut shapes were fashioned from the taller parts of the hedges. The shapes included things like bats, demon-shapes, and other malevolent looking shapes.
"Let’s have a race to see who can reach the end of the maze first!" Mina said as she ran into the maze. She disappeared into the countless rows of those eerie leaves. I thought about Lenore in that instant. I looked back at the table we were formerly at and she was not there. I turned around to enter the maze but Lenore was already at the entrance. She looked at me and walked in then disappeared as her sister had done.
"Where are you?" Mina yelled as I lagged behind badly for this was an extremely difficult maze. The ground between the two sides of the maze was of obsidian. It was in large bricks about a foot long and 7 inches wide. This was extremely reflective and odd looking when one was walking down the endless corridors of the maze.
"I am coming!" I shouted as I neared the supposed location of one of the sisters only to find out it was a funnel with a long metal tube connected to it which then went underground through which one could yell and the sound would resonate somewhere else.
After a while of running and chasing and spotting the girls I finally reached the center of the labyrinth. At this place was a stone gazebo. It was about 20 feet tall and 40 feet around. All around were stone statues and benches. These all had odd designs like the ones on the furniture inside inlaid in patterns all over them. I went over to sit on one of the benches.
"I must sit for I am tired!" I shouted so that Mina and Lenore would know where I am. I began to look around and admire the great work and care done onto the statues and benches. I grew very weary and drifted off to sleep at some point. When I awoke it was already night.
"Mina, Lenore, are you there? I am in need of assistance to get out!" I shouted for I knew I did not know the way out. I looked around for a way of remembering the way out. There were quite a few entrances into this garden amongst the labyrinth. I looked completely around and found 27 openings. To add to the matter, the sun did not shine too much so I could not guide myself with that.
I decided to explore the stone structures before leaving this scene. I walked around and studied the statues. These were in human shape. Some were also in demon shape but those, too, appeared to be humanoid in character. I saw statues of people dressed in Victorian clothing, Medieval clothing, American Indian attire, Roman attire with togas, and other time period clothing.
"Interesting." I thought to myself, "I wonder why they have these interesting statues."
Next I began to walk over to the other structures in the garden; benches, tables, large odd-looking blocks of obsidian. These were about 2 meters long and about one and a half meters thick. They reminded me of a coffin.
I then began to look to the sky in the hopes of finding a star with which to guide myself out of this maze. Not to my amazement, there were no stars in the sky. I kept looking for some kind of guidance to find my way out. I found nothing but a strange obelisk I had not seen before. It seemed to be moving. It did so in a slow lethargic way. It finally stopped. It pointed directly to one of the openings. I decided this was the way out.
I wanted to see this obelisk up close to further know about it. It seemed to be made out of solid stone. There were no perceptible joints or breaks of any kind. It was as if the stone had been born this way or very precisely carved out to this manner. This still could not explain how it had moved. "One of the girls must be controlling it mechanically somehow," I thought to myself.
I then began to move out of the labyrinth. I followed the path leading out of the centre of it to the outside paths of the maze. In these I got lost once more only to find myself at a small gazebo in the center of the path. It seemed the road widened to form a circle with the hedges and the gazebo was in the middle. It seemed like the only way to get past it was through it. I went forth and when I was inside of it I noticed its inside.
Inside the gazebo there was a circular table exactly in the middle and the whole wall was a bench. On the table there was a large book bound in black leather. It had glowing red lettering on it. It seemed to be in another language I knew not of. I opened it and inside there was more of this arcane language. I could not read this and was frustrated with the book so I put it down. In doing so it slipped from my hands and fell open to the anterior cover. It was of a map. It was on a light beige color paper with faded red ink. It looked like a map of somewhere I had never seen or heard of. I looked at it closer. There was more of the writing on this.
I suddenly saw a bright light of in the distance. I put the book back down and ran to it. It was the end of the maze path. There was no one there but I found where the light was coming from. It was coming from atop two tall black iron lamp posts with bright burning candles inside of them on either side of the gate out. I had finally made it out of the maze and proceeded to go back inside the house. I decided to go to sleep upon entering and hoped the girls had not bolted the entrance for I had not key and they might be asleep.
When I got to the door I found it was not locked I went in and all was dark. I went forth into the house and finally came to the stairs. I went up to my room and there I went to bed. It was strange for the stairs seems a million times taller and the halls a thousand times longer. I got into bed but not without a strange feeling of being watched.
I tried to go to sleep but I was unable to. Finally, around sometime near midnight I went out of my room to explore and hopefully get somewhat tired so that I may sleep. I began to descend when I started to hear the odd sounds behind me. I looked behind me and saw nothing as usual.
When I reached the bottom of the stairs I walked around to investigate the house. I knew this was in poor manners but I knew that the two sister (could they be sisters, so opposite?) would not mind, especially not Mina.
"Maybe if I take some warm milk," I thought to myself, "I can fall asleep faster." as I went into what I though was the kitchen. The door was a large Oak one as of all the rest but this one was odd in that it had a large metal latch keeping it shut. I went in and was horrified at what I found.
"My God!" I spoke to myself aloud as I saw the horrific sight; corpses. There were dozens of them. I walked in even further and inspected them one by one. They were all brutally tortured and killed. One poor man was hanging by hooks put into the bones of his fingers and gutted, his intestines in the floor like a pile of rope. Another man had all the flesh, muscle, and anything of the sort had been scraped off, leaving the bones of the legs while the top was still complete. The expression on their faces was one off great pain, as though this was done while they were still alive. The sight of all this was so sickening I fainted. When I awoke I was in my pajamas as I was when I was awake but I was now in my room, on the small chair that is next to my bed. I looked at my clothes at the foot of my bed on the other chair and they were still there.
"Must have been a horrible nightmare," I told myself, "I should go to sleep now, though."
I lay down to sleep in the bed. It was a large bed, of Oaken posts and frame. It had a very large ands fluffy mattress; the pillows and sheets were of satin with down inside. I began to nod off to sleep when I heard a rapping on the floor. It sounded like large marbles being dropped on the floor very quickly. I quickly got up in my bed and lit a candle to see what had happened. I saw nothing in the room out of order except that my clothes were now in another position. I had left them in a neat folded pile on a chair in front of my bed and now there was a small mass underneath them that had disturbed them.
"Is anyone there?" I asked out into the jet-black room. I received no answer.
I tried to light a candle next to my bed but the matches on my dresser did not work for some reason. I waited a while and decided I should go back to sleep since it must have been my imagination playing tricks on my. I laid back down and closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep.
While asleep I had a dream. In it there was Lenore and Mina. They approached me in my bed and both climbed in with me. Mina began to undress and come onto me while Lenore simply stood there. I looked over at half nude Mina and gasped. Her beautiful perfect smile had been replaced by a malicious looking snarling mouth of fangs and a long deep red tongue. Her eyes were glistening red, like demon’s eyes. I looked over at Lenore who simply looked at me with a look of pity in her eyes and then she herself began to undress and when she was completely nude she began to peel off her supple pale skin and underneath were think scales. I looked over at Mina and she too had peeled off her skin and exposed her demonic self. Just then I awoke to find myself covered in sweat and tied down, as if ropes or fasteners of some sort bound me.
"What is going on?!" I yelled at the bleak darkness upon which I saw many minute shadows and two large ones. Then the room lit up in flames all around ands it became intensively hot. I saw that the many minute shadows were the many dolls I had seen on the walls and the two large ones were Mina and Lenore. I looked at them and saw that Mina and Lenore were looking very odd at this time. They both appeared to have small horns protruding from their foreheads and had long slithery lizard tongues as well as reptilian scales.
"Hello. Did you sleep well?" asked Mina with a look of evil in her eyes now that had largely replaced the look of innocence and mischief in her eyes.
"What are you doing to me?" I yelled at them.
Then the dolls charged at me with their small porcelain hands. They took me out of my bed and into the hall. We descended the stairs in a time which I was incredulous to since it was about 5 seconds when it took me about 10 minutes to walk up them with my large steps.
Mina watched in great delight, laughing, turning her head back. Lenore watched in silence and did nothing; smile, speak, even look. She merely stood there and attempted not to intrude too much in the struggle to take me away.
"Unhand me at this instant!" I shouted at the small porcelain figures that were now carrying me to the room in which I had been in in my nightmare, only it was real! I was dropped onto the ground and then had the fasteners taken off. I rolled some ways toward a large table. The table was a large slab of obsidian.
"Gorgonia sarodon mizch gahr barun!" Mina shouted at the small dolls, laboring away preparing things to be used.
"Now, my friend Roderick, we shall see what you are useful for." she told me while her eyes bore into me like lances. I looked over at Lenore sitting on a mass of skulls fashioned into a throne of some kind. There must have been about 300 of them. She looked up at me and gave me a sullen gaze and looked back down.
"Barbaram Niowis serhovina!" Mina said with a look of ecstasy on her face. Her eyes were twinkling and shining, as of extreme happiness.
"Rediemu serutia ungurani huit!" she bellowed and instantly all the dolls surrounded me and took me to the slab.
"My friend Mr. Chamber, do you know what October 31 is to us?" she asked me while I was being put onto the slab.
"I think, Halloween," I answered to her.
"You are wrong!" she screeched at me, "it is something more ancient than the Pagans could have known. You see, before there were any humans there were only our kind and immortals. The immortals were the gods that created everything. They soon decided on creating humans. When it was apparent that our two kinds could not be together peacefully they decided to lock away one kind forever. The Gods then locked away all our kind into these dolls. They decided that humans were much more beautiful and therefore were righted to live for themselves. That is what those dolls are, our kind, trapped for eons. Lenore and I look human because we stole these bodies. We figured out how. Now, on the 1,000,000 anniversary of that fateful day, on the same day, your October 31, we must bring forth the blood of 1,000,000 humans. After then the blood must be poured into these molds," she mentioned, pointing at thousands of obsidian blocks with apertures on top where I would assume it the blood would be poured into to make the casts of what ever they were making, "then my kind can leave their pitiful excuses for bodies in those miserable dolls and come forth into what was meant to be their world!" she said.
She slowly started to walk over at me. She called to one of the dolls, "Anara shinz ucht!" which brought her a large sword, appearing to be around 4 feet long.
"It is time, weary traveler, to bring forth the millionth mortal and feast upon the blood of he and rejoice into the world domination destined for us!" she shouted as she aimed the sword at my heart. Just as she was about to penetrate my flesh I heard a loud, shrill shriek come from behind her and as soon as my eyes were open again I saw Mina lie almost completely in two, cut in half by the claws of her sister Lenore.
"What are you doing you wench?!" shouted Mina as she tore in half by the claws of her sister.
"I have grown to love these humans, they can be beautiful at times," she said as she gave the final tug and Mina was now in two, writhing in pain and agony on the floor.
"Whore! Do you know how many years we have awaited this moment?! You have ruined eons of waiting!" were final words before she burst into flames.
"Come Roderick, we must flee quickly." said Lenore as she untied me and we headed out the door while the dolls were after us, right on our heels.
We ran out the door and out into the still deserted streets. From there we stopped to take off all the straps that were left on me fully. As we looked back we saw all the dolls coming, in an army of what seemed thousands. They were chasing us with various sharp implements of minor destruction such as knives, axes, and other things.
"Into the forest, quickly, and do not stop. I will stay back here to fend them off while you make it out. Farewell my friend." she said as she turned around to the masses of dolls awaiting her. She plunged deep into their army, tearing off limbs, ripping torsos in half, and crushing skulls.
I ran into the forest but I could go no farther and stopped to rest under a large tree with a peculiar flat boulder underneath it. I sat to rest and began to catch my breath. I began to inspect the boulder more fully in detail; it was about 6 feet long and it was almost completely flat such as a table would be. I saw strange designs on it like those on the furniture in the mansion. At this point I began to regret my decision of stopping here.
"Damn it!" I said as I realized I should not have stopped for this was no ordinary boulder and this was no ordinary forest, this was a ceremonial sacrificial slab and this forest still belonged to the Demonkind. I then tried to get up but I was trapped! There were tree branches around my throat and torso. I looked up and I saw the tree, oh the tree, with its evil Mina face upon its bark! I knew I was doomed, there would be no Lenore to save me now. I managed to look down and there underneath me I saw the most horrifying site one could imagine; the dolls with their sliver chalices ready to collect my blood for their use, on a stake; Lenore’s head.